Monday, April 22, 2013

Birds Galore

Red Crowned Parakeet
A few weeks ago we finally visited a nearby island bird sanctuary called Tiritiri Matangi. We've been meaning to go there since, oh, about a month after moving to Auckland. We're lame.

Over the last 30 years it's been made predator-free and heaps of trees were planted to make it a haven for birds. Many there are native, and many had to be re-introduced.

It didn't disappoint!  There are birds birds birds everywhere and doing the first part of the day with a guide makes it even better.

The way it works is you take a special ferry that goes once a day, pack a lunch a spend about 5 hours on the island that's full of trails, and then take the ferry back at the end of the day.  Takes about an hour to get there and works pretty well!

There were Red Crowned Parakeets like the one in this photo, Bellbirds (very musical), Tui, Stitchbirds, Brown Saddlebacks, the big New Zealand Pigeon, and the very rare (and huge) Takahe, of which there are only a couple hundred left in the world.

The volunteers there have setup a few sugar water stations for birds like the Bellbird to help you see them up close when they gather around to feast on the wonderfulness (apparently) that is sugar water.  The stitchbirds like it too, and it makes for quite the sing-song station.  Here's a brief clip of some:

I hauled along my giant telephoto lens for the day and got a few good shots of some of the birds.  See more photos here.

And finally, in case you're wondering, here's a map of where the island is in relation to central Auckland.

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